Babies’ and children’s hair: many useful tips for taking care of it

Proper hair care is important for future hair health and texture. Learn how to do it and make this moment an enjoyable experience for your child.

Newborns’ hair is an element that always attracts everyone’s attention from the first hours of life. Uh look how much hair he has! But what long hair! Why does he have so little hair? Hey how he is blond!… Hey how he is dark! He has red hair, but who does he get it from?
These are just some of the exclamations that everyone hears when referring to a newborn’s hair.

As the weeks go by, the parents’ interest in the baby’s hair increases. In fact, a newborn’s hair and scalp are very delicate and parents must take care of them in the best possible way and with the right products.

Babies and children’s hair: lots of tips for taking care of it

Newborns’ hair undergoes continuous changes over time .
There are some children, for example, who lose their first hair completely, others lose it in patches, some change the initial color of the hair, others can get cradle cap on the skin.

And even when children grow up, hair care is seen by parents as a small/big problem to take care of: how to wash your hair without making it cry? when to cut children’s hair? how to manage curly hair? and long hair how do I fix it?

In short, there are a whole series of questions that parents ask themselves and to which an answer must be found. Here are some useful tips.

How to wash a newborn’s head

To keep your child’s hair healthy, what is recommended, at least in the case of a newborn, is washing it daily or even two or three times a week. It is preferable to do this without the use of soaps , but simply passing a soft sponge soaked only in warm/hot water (about 25/30°) over the downy hair, massaging delicately in a circular direction.
When the hair is thicker, you can switch to shampoo which must be very delicate and specific for children, with a neutral PH, free of sulphates and which does not irritate the eyes and produces little foam. Throughout the first year of life this is sufficient to take care of the baby’s hair unless the cradle cap problem occurs.

Treat cradle cap

Cradle cap usually occurs on the scalp of newborns within the first 6 weeks of life, although in some cases it can appear later. It is a completely natural secretion caused by a simple seborrheic dermatitis which then forms yellowish scales.
The cause of the cradle cap is not yet clear but it is certainly not caused by infections, allergies or poor hygiene.
To treat it, a little specific oil for children is generally recommended to put on the little head in order to soften the scales that will go away with the next day’s washing and a simple passage of special brushes.

How to avoid making them cry when you wash your hair

There are some children who don’t like taking a bath and above all they can’t stand washing their heads for fear of water on their faces or burning shampoo.
So what’s the easiest way to wash your baby’s hair without making him cry? Distraction (and especially a shampoo that doesn’t burn your eyes!).
It can be helpful to let your child play, talk to him in a calm and encouraging tone, sing to him while he plays and you wash him, gently wash and rinse his hair using a small dispenser rather than a shower head.
You can also try bath visorswhich are very useful and can be used to keep water from splashing on the baby’s face. Alternatively you can try to make him wear swimming goggles and turn everything into a fun game.
However, plan on wasting some time to remain patient.

How does a baby’s hair dry

The type of drying depends on how much hair a child has.
The main gesture to do is to gently dab the head with a towel or a soft cotton towel , being careful not to rub too much near the fountain. If there is little hair or it is summer, just this dabbing may be enough to dry the baby’s head.

If, on the other hand, the child has a lot of hair or it is winter, the hairdryer can be used (there are some suitable for newborns) even if it is necessary to take some precautions. To avoid scaring him or overheating the child’s head, it is advisable to keep the hairdryer at a certain distance and avoid blowing hot air on his face (preferably set to the lowest temperature and minimum power).

When and how to cut children’s hair

Children’s hair tends to grow quickly, so it happens that you need to cut their hair from time to time, especially if some strands start to fall out on their faces and get in the way. Babies’ hair
can be cut even from three/four months old and to do so there is no need to go to the hairdresser, but it is something that can be done very well even at home. While the mother cuts, however, the presence of someone who keeps the baby’s head still and good is necessary.

The parts to be cut are typically those on the forehead, neck and around the ears. To do this, it is best to use a pair of scissors with a rounded tip (to avoid hurting him if the child turns abruptly), a comb to pick up the hair and a little water to moisten the strands from time to time.

If, on the other hand, you want to cut your hair a little more professionally and deeply, you can use children’s hair clippers . These are small battery-operated razors that cut a child’s hair precisely and in minutes. They are very popular because, being rather silent and used directly by the mother, they do not frighten the baby.

If you don’t feel comfortable with scissors or even a clipper because your child won’t sit still or because it’s their first real haircut and you want them to be perfect, there are many hairdressing salons specializing in children’s hairstyles , with child-friendly furniture and specially designed distractions.

How to take care of a child’s curly hair?

If taking care of baby hair seems like a daunting task, imagine what it can be like to do it when the kids are older and have curly hair!
To try to tame them and prevent curly hair from growing rebellious and frizzy, here are the things you can do:

  • wash your hair and use conditioner after using shampoo
  • comb your hair when it’s wet because the comb glides better and detangles easier
  • Avoid brushing dry hair as it causes frizz
  • when possible it is better to air dry than to use a hair dryer.
  • if you use the hair dryer, the diffuser is better when you use the hair dryer, but it is not a good practice because it can harm some children.
  • use styling gel but only for children aged 6 and over. There are specific products on the market for curly hair.
  • to tame the locks of the girls you can use elastic bands or hair clips or use hair bands if you want to keep them loose.
  • if we are talking about children with curly hair, the problem can be solved by keeping the hair shorter at least until it becomes thicker.

Hair accessories: yes or no?

Headbands, clips, headbands, bows, rubber bands and various hair accessories are very useful for three main reasons:

  1. hold long or unruly hair in place
  2. they allow the children’s hairstyle to be changed from time to time
  3. they are embellishments that come in handy on special occasions (ceremonies, traditions, photo shoots)

Bearing in mind these undeniable positive characteristics, it should be borne in mind that hair accessories cannot always be used. 

For example, in newborns it is good to use them as little as possible. The hair and scalp in this phase are in fact very delicate and clips and elastic bands and headbands could annoy or damage them. If you really want, you can put on special hair bands for babies that are soft and don’t squeeze the head.

After the neonatal period, all types of hair accessories can be used, as long as they are appreciated and tolerated by children and above all they are safe products.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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